The position of adverbials and the pragmatic organization of the sentence: A comparison of French and Dutch

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This paper presents a comparative study of the positions adverbials can occupy within a declarative sentence in French and Dutch. The theoretical assumption is that sentence constituents can be classified as either focusable or not, and that these concepts can also be applied to the entire sentence. A French sentence contains a non-focusable and a focusable section separated by the position for the negation particle, while in Dutch the whole sentence, with the exception of the two peripheral positions, is focusable. An empirical study with informants brings out that French is characterized by a strong correlation between the focusability of adverbials and the positions they can occupy, but that in Dutch all types of adverbials can occur in all available positions.


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